Enjoy food, music, live entertainment, dancing, and more for the entire family at the 32nd annual Greek Festival held at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church. Admission is $3.00 for adults and free for children under 12. Free parking is available at adjacent Mira Costa College. For two days, the church grounds are transformed into a quaint Greek village atmosphere where you can experience fine food, traditional Greek dancing, and the warmth of Greek hospitality. The open marketplace typifies a traditional Bazaar with fresh produce and Greek Deli specialty food items, Greek imports, pottery, fine jewelry, artwork, and an array of treasures at YiaYia’s (Grandma’s) Attic. While adults are shopping, the children can enjoy the game booths nearby.
A variety of foods allow visitors to experience traditional Greek cuisine as if it came straight from YiaYia’s kitchen. Appetizers include Tiropita (cheese phyllo pie), Dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat), Taramosalata (Greek caviar dip), Rizogalo (Greek rice pudding), and the ever-popular Loukoumathes (honey-dipped Greek donuts). A la carte meals feature Souvlaki (shish-kabob cooked over charcoal), Spanakopita (spinach phyllo pie), Pastitsio (Greek lasagna), Dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice), Pilafi (Greek rice), and Salata (Greek salad with olives and feta cheese). In addition, enjoy freshly brewed Greek coffee with many famous Greek pastries in the Kafenio (coffeehouse) while being entertained by live music.
The church’s award-winning folk dance groupes, Elpida, Opalakia, and Neo Kyma Dancers will perform in full traditional dress on the outdoor patio. Those interested in learning to Greek dance will have the opportunity as instruction will take place throughout the weekend. Afterward, try Greek dancing in the Taverna to the live music of the popular and contemporary band The Olympians. “We are convinced that you will shout ‘Opa!’ when you watch our famous Greek dancers perform and as they teach you how to dance the Greek way. We welcome you to our Greek Festival and enjoy,” says Father Theofanis Degaitas, parish priest.
Church Tours will be held each day at 1 pm and 4 pm where visitors may view the magnificent mosaics and Botticino marble. Father Degaitas will explain the iconography adorning various architectural pieces of the Church, which were produced under the direction of Bruno Salvatori, a world recognized master of mosaics. From its unique stained glass windows that feature early Byzantine symbols, to the golden dome which portrays Christ the Pantokrator, the church represents one of the finest works of Byzantine art in the world.
A live auction featuring many valuable donated items will take place at 5 pm both days. The drawing for the annual raffle of the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sedan will be held on Sunday, September 12th at 7 pm. Raffle tickets are only $10 each and limited to 7,500 tickets sold. Winner need not be present.
“We are pleased to have you join us in this celebration of our Greek culture. We extend our hospitality and invite you to taste our food and drink, experience our music, learn about our religion and our culture, and have a wonderful time,” says Peter Fellios, parish council president. All proceeds benefit the church building fund and charities throughout the world. Through hard work and dedication, Saints Constantine and Helen has assisted many organizations from Africa, to the Haiti relief effort. It is the church’s goal to give back through celebration as well as philanthropy.